Reading food labels, supplement labels and nutrition labels like a Ninja

in under 30 seconds or less

Nutrition labels are those innocuous looking white parts on the back of your kombucha. Wait, those are Supplements Facts but fact is, there are equally as ignored.

Food labels, nutrition labels and other panels of macronutrient goodness and micronutrient nuance are invaluable and, legally mandated to be there. Yet so many people rarely use them effectively if ever.

Reading nutrition facts labels only helps everyone know what you’re eating and drinking for process’ sake but also so you can feel a better at ease whenever you decide to skip the salubrious trail mix in favor of tar-colored carbonated acid water.

But, say you’re an athlete or at least highly active.

ALL of my trainees are expected to remember key facts of nutrition labels, for sure.

And, all of my trainees, of course are active.

Some, in reality are as athletic as they come – fighters, D1 soccer, basketball and volleyball players – as examples.

These men and women as much as any single parent who’s performing slight of hand with canned goods and tinned fish, need to bang out the nutrition facts labels with teh  quickness. Every. Signal. Time.

Know this: you can read a nutrition facts label in under 30 seconds.


Do you read read nutrition labels???

Complex Carbs - the hidden signal

Total Carbs100
Simple Carbs ("sugars"80

Simple math

Whenever you pick up any food, the nutrition label will tell you about the food’s carbohydrates. Listed on every food label is “Total Carbohydrates.” Within this short phrase is embedded much information – that isn’t written on the rest of the nutrition label!

It’s like breaking some surreptitious cypher.

Bereft of so much info regarding phytochemcials, antioxidants, creatine and other macro nutrient supplements, amino acids and the like, the label includes the basics. These basic serve the needs of most of society however.

Total Carbohydrates

This portion of food label anatomy refers to the 5 and 6 carbon saccharides that  the food mainly contains. It also refer to the FIBER found within the food.

Consider why do we mention fiber but not complex carbs?

Answer: fiber, 25 grams of the stuff, it necessary to ward off the long term matriculation of interstitial cancers. As such, the nebulous recommended amount we should eat is 25.

Yet, most of us don’t get nearly that amount.

Conversely, simple carbohydrates are the basic building monomers of blood sugar.

Resting blood sugar keeps us alive.

As a result, Total Carbohydrates refers to those basic needs of everyone without telling the full story.

Complex carbs, like disaccharides and polysaccharides, are not lifted. But, these macros are every bit as useful to know about.

Simply stated, TOTAL (Minus) SUGARS (/Minus) Fiber (Equals) COMPLEX CARBS!

Knowing this helps us determine the food as great POST-WORKOUT fuel! However, knowing just the simple carbohydrate straus indicates quite teh oppsoite. Higher simple carbohydrates (listed) indicates this is amazing PRE-WORKOUT.

serving SIZE

Of course, the first actual math you must settle is your serving size.

Ostensibly you have to get this calculus to equal 1. This is a problem only because the manufacturer of your food – the cookies with the fudge stripe, the pack of dried turkey strips or bag of roasted seaweed – combine some alchemy with profit margin magic as produced a relatively arbitrary number that supposed indicates how many you should eat.

Sometimes this number is equal to 10 crackers. Sometimes it is 15 mL. Other times this number is 7 chips. Whatever. The point is this: this number means nearly nothing to you unless it’s a function of 1.

serving size = 1

One serving has practical purposes.

It means you can weigh your food options after you take down one. One gram, one tablespoon, one half-cake. One means something.

What doesn;t have much practical purpose is the idea of eating nine chips.

By a confusing process of revolution and the celestial design of the neuro-network inside our domes, the reward centers with gladden our hearts after process something good is close in proximity to the hunger receptors. And so, it is easy to eat and feel good.

Good feels might reward us forgetfulness. This is less a function of survival and more a crutch of our amoebic cores.

It feels so good to eat, we forget to think and process later.


Total Carbs100
Simple Carbs ("sugars" AND FIBER)40


Total Carbs100
Simple Carbs ("sugars")80